Flavourtown Bakery

Forget Lola’s and the Hummingbird Bakery, if you want the best cupcakes in London (and beyond, but they are based in London) you have to go to Flavourtown Bakery!

I only discovered these guys last weekend whilst wandering round Old Spitalfields Market. To be honest, I’d started to go off cupcakes a bit, most of the ones I’ve had recently have been quite disappointing – too sweet, too dry and just not really achieving the flavour they were aiming for. However, my eyes were initially caught by their Bad Ass Brownie cupcake – an amazing combination of chocolate cupcake and cheesecake and frosting. I was pretty sure it contained a whole days calories in a single cake, but it did look good.
As we still had stalls to see, we wandered off with the intention for returning for cake post-shopping.
Sadly, when we returned, the Bad Ass Brownie’s had sold out!! This was a little disappointing, but the rest of the selection available was plenty to take my mind off the disappointment πŸ™‚
I ended up getting a box of four, as narrowing the selection down to just one would have been far too hard. I went for a Salted Caramel, Cookie Dough, Caramel Apple and Carrot Cake. The guys on the stall were really friendly and we had chatted for quite a while, so they also threw in a free Gingerbread cupcake which was their free secret cupcake of the week (if you like their Facebook page and show up at their stall in Old Spitalfields Market and ask for the secret cupcake by name, they’ll give it to you for free – while stocks last!)

Clockwise from left: Salted Caramel, Caramel Apple, Carrot and Cookie Dough
Gingerbread Secret Flavour Cupcake

I was not disappointed. The cakes were moist and the flavours were great without being ridiculously sweet.
The Carrot Cake cupcake was possibly a contender for being one of my favourite carrot cakes and definitely better than any carrot cake cupcake I’ve ever bought. The cake was moist and had a good amount of carrot and cinnamon. The cream cheese frosting was beautiful and complimented the cake well, without being too rich or sickly sweet.
Caramel Apple was also really, really nice and amazingly moist. As with the carrot cake, the cake itself was moist and had the amazing cream cheese frosting on top, plus a hidden centre of caramel that made this a very special cupcake.
Salted caramel was unusual, but not in a bad way, it made me think of toffee popcorn πŸ™‚ With a caramel cupcake, a salted caramel centre and a caramel drizzle on top this threatened to be a seriously overpowering sugar hit, but the salt provided a great balance that gave the popcorn-y impression.
Cookie Dough was the first one I had whilst still at the market, and I wolfed it down so quickly it’s hard to comment on, but it was definitely enjoyable πŸ™‚
Gingerbread was also amazing! It was like Old Jamaica Ginger Cake, which I love, with the addition of frosting. Plus the little fondant gingerbread man on top was super cute!

They also had a really interesting festive Mince Whoopie Pie. I didn’t get one, as I’m not a big fan on mince pies, but one of my friends did and I tried a bit – it was actually really nice. Turns out I dislike the texture of mince pies more than the flavour.

If you go to Old Spitalfields Market I strongly recommend you check them out. They do also take orders, but only if you live in London (booooo). Their menu is positively mouth-watering, I’d love to be able to try their maple bacon cupcake, Malt Teaser cupcake and Cheesecake cupcake πŸ™‚ Plus, the guys are really nice to chat too.

I really want cake now :/

Love,

Old Spitalfields Market Pop-Up Vintage Fashion Show

On Saturday, I made the trip up to London to take part in a vintage fashion show for Pop-Up Vintage Fairs and Old Spitalfields Market.

It was a pretty early start for me, having to be up, ready and out of the house in time to catch a train at 8am, much earlier than I’m usually up, especially on a Saturday! At least the tiredness distracted me a bit from how nervous I was! Having never been to Old Spitalfields Market, met any of the other great bloggers who had been invited or styled anyone other than myself, I was pretty terrified.

I managed to get myself to the market and met up with Jayne J Read of Jayne’s Kitschen and ReeRee Rockette of Rockalily. It was lovely to meet both the ladies, as I’ve often chatted with them on Twitter but haven’t had opportunity to meet up with them before. Needless to say, they’re both lovely!
After a bit of a chat we got shown to the stalls that were taking part to have a look at what was on offer. We were each to be assigned a model and a stall from which to put together two outfits for the catwalk show.

I got to work with the lovely Cat and picked outfits from Vintage Glitz N Bitz, with shoes from Rock on Ruby Vintage. I unintentionally ended up putting together two 70’s outfits – not a decade I normally go for, but the items just all came together that way and I was really happy with how it all turned out.
Candy Pout did a great job on the hair and make-up for all of the models.

Outfit 1
An orange shirt dress under a brown suede coat with fur collar and tan suede boots.
At first I wasn’t totally convinced by the tan boots, but they grew on me and I ended up very happy with the outfit.
Outfit 2
Dress with white, heavily beaded bodice and pale aqua chiffon skirt with white stiletto shoes

Cat was a brilliant model and totally worked it on the catwalk, as you can see in the gif below (created by the lovely Skin and Blisters – check her blog out!).

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The other bloggers also put together some gorgeous outfits (apologies for the quality of some of the pictures, it’s very hard to photograph moving models!). All the ladies were great and very stylish, you should check their blogs out!

Styled by ReeRee Rockette
Styled by Jayne J Read
Styled by Alison Tang
Styled by Sarah Ruppin

As well as the catwalk shows there were performances from Swing Patrol dancers. I got involved and did a bit of dancing too, although my friends were totally resistant, one of the dance group members was on hand to be my partner. It was loads of fun, everyone else totally missed out by not joining in!

I had to take my shoes off as they kept falling off when I was kicking :/

I had a brilliant day, even if it was a bit exhausting. I hung around the market with some of my old uni friends for the rest of the day, exploring all the stalls. If you’ve never been to Old Spitalfields Market I really recommend you do, there are so many great stalls selling brilliant handmade items by some very talented crafts-people. If I’d have had the money I could have bought a lot of stuff! In the end all I did get was a new watch necklace for Β£5 and some cupcakes from Flavourtown bakery – which were so good they’re going to get their own post πŸ™‚

I wish I had the money to get up to London more often.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Love,

Butternut Squash Cupcakes

I like experimenting with slightly unusual recipes and ingredients. I saw a recipe for butternut squash cupcakes ages ago, but it was only a few days ago, when I had some left over butternut that needed using, that I got around to giving it a go.

The recipe is really simple and the cakes turned out really well. The final product is reminiscent of a sticky toffee pudding, sweet and sticky, dark coloured and dense but still soft and not cloying.

Butternut Squash Cupcakes
200g Butternut Squash (skinned, de-seeded and cut into cubes)
175g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
150g Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
90ml Oil
Pinch of salt

  • Place the cubed butternut into a blender/mixer and blend until very finely chopped


  • Place blended butternut into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Take care not to over-mix



  • Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake at 180 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes.


  • Allow to cool then decorate. I just put a simple icing on mine, but you can do a buttercream or cream cheese frosting would also work well, or, given the sticky toffee pudding like taste, a toffee sauce would be awesome!



My brown sugar was a little lumpy and I didn’t take enough time to make sure it was all mixed properly, but that meant a lot of the cakes have little spots of melted brown sugar caramel in them, so that worked out ok! I might try a little less sugar next time actually, to see if I can make them a little less sticky.Β 
As I baked such a huge batch I had to sent half into work with my boyfriend, mostly to save me from myself as I would have eaten many more cakes than would have been good for me :/
I have a few more vegetable based cake recipes up my sleeve that I hope to be able to try out soon. It’s great to surprise people by telling them that they just ate veg in a cake.
I also have a lot of posts lined up that I need to write, but so many things seem to be getting between me and blogging lately 😦 Hopefully I’ll get a couple more in this week.
Hope you are well.
Love,

My Quest for the Ultimate Carrot Cake; Lola’s Cupcakes, Selfridges

For some reason, I’ve had a pretty big break in my hunt for the perfect carrot cake. So much so that some of you may have not idea what I’m even going on about! Basically, I love carrot cake, it is probably my favourite type of cake, and I decided I would use my blog as a way of documenting every carrot cake I can get my hands on, to try and find the best one! (See my previous posts hereΒ and here).

On Tuesday last week I had to head into London for a work event. It was a really, really early start; the event started at 8.30 near Trafalgar Square, and I ended up getting up at 5.30am for a 7am train! As soon as I realised my tube went through Oxford Circus, I knew I’d have to make a stop and treat myself for getting up so early. As any sort of shopping is out of the question in my current financial situation, I settled for heading to Selfridges and indulging in a cupcake from Lola’s! I see so many tweets from people who are eating Lola’s cupcakes I wanted to get in on the action!
As if walking down Oxford Street wasn’t hard enough on it’s own, trying to avoid the temptation to go into the shops, Selfridges was ten times worse! Entering straight into the beauty hall, being lured by sales assistants with perfumes and make up and hair straighteners – Selfridges is not a poor girls friend! I made a quick detour through the Illamasqua stand, fortunately both the ladies working there were busy so I managed to leave with my bank balance intact! Then on to the food hall and Lola’s πŸ˜€
Despite the huge and beautiful array of cupcakes in the case, I managed to stick to my quest for carrot cake, although I could have easily bought one (or two) of everything! The staff were all lovely and the shop was so cute; colourful and light and bright.
The carrot cake cupcake isn’t even the prettiest looking cupcake – the brightly frosted vanilla cupcakes are by far more visually appealing – but joy of a carrot cake is much more subtle than that. The Lola’s carrot cake cupcake is filled with pecan nuts and topped with cream cheese frosting and more nuts, presumably also pecans.
There was a lot of anticipation for this cupcake, and I wasn’t disappointed in it, as a cupcake. It was a good size for a cupcake (definitely can’t be accused of being small!) with a good quantity of frosting; the cake was moist and the frosting had a nice flavour (possibly orange?). It wasn’t heavy or sickly and the frosting nicely complimented the cake. However, I am sorry to report, it was not the ultimate carrot cake. I’m not big fan of nuts in carrot cake, and there were quite a lot of nuts. Also, the frosting wasn’t rich enough in my book, a cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake should be amazingly rich and thick and this one just wasn’t. I was a little disappointed, as I had really hoped I would have found my ultimate carrot cake; but, on reflectionΒ I it’s actually perfectly ok that Lola’s don’t make the perfect carrot cake; they still make great cupcakes, and asking for a shop to make great cupcakes and great carrot cake might just be a step too far. If anything I’m just disappointed I didn’t let myself have something other than carrot cake! Next time (and there will be a next time, and a time after that…) I will venture outside my carrot cake obsession and try something else; Red Velvet, Cookies and Cream and Rocky Road are definitely high on my list.
If you’re in London then try and work a trip to one of Lola’s stores into your plans; they have stores in Mayfair, Selfridges and Topshop on Oxford Street and one in Harrods. Have a look at their flavour menu on their website here. I’d love to get a load of these cupcakes in for my birthday πŸ™‚
I was so knackered by the end of the day but had such a lovely day. Although I’m pretty sure I could never live there, I really enjoy visiting London and I’m glad I live close enough to do so fairly regularly πŸ™‚
I’m having cake craving pangs now – may have to bake soon!
Love

Bake, Rattle & Roll

I’ve had a serious cupcake craving ever since Monday when I saw all the yummy cupcakes at the ZOMG launch party! I finally got a bit of time to bake this afternoon and wanted to share the process with you. I’ve also recently acquired some new retro fonts, so I’ve also been playing around with annotating my photos πŸ™‚

Ingredients

Recipe










Tips:
  • Check if your cakes are cooked either by pressing on the top and seeing if the cake bounces back or inserting a cocktail stick into the middle and seeing if it comes out clean. My oven is really poor so actually took about 25 minutes, even though the recipe said 15! Keep an eye on you cakes (but don’t open the door too early or they might sink!) and get to know how effective you oven is.
  • I’m still a frosting cheat, I used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Β from a can, because it’s easier. It whipped it up with my electric mixer before pipping (been working on my pipping skills!).
  • My cupcake cases are silicone, which means they can be washed and reused instead of just throwing away paper cases πŸ™‚
  • Go as crazy as you like with your decorations. I buy most of mine on eBay but I fancy trying out some sweets as decorations soon, jellies and buttons and dolly mixtures!
Let me know how it goes if you try making your own; they are pretty yummy if I do say so myself πŸ™‚
Love

Halloween Cupcakes

I am absolutely knackered having spent all afternoon in the kitchen baking. I’m not complaining though, I really enjoy baking and today was extra fun as I was getting to create some cool Halloween cupcakes πŸ™‚

I’ve seen a lot of Halloween cupcake designs online over the past few weeks, which gave me a good deal of inspiration, but mostly I worked from “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” by Lily Vanilli. The book was a birthday present from one of my very good friends, and I’ve been waiting for Halloween ever since.
A Zombie Ate My Cupcake by Lily Vanilli
Now, despite my love of cupcakes and baking, I don’t actually have a single go-to cupcake recipe. So, as I was using the book for design inspiration anyway, I thought I’d try out the cake recipes included in the back.Β 
I was so impressed. The mix was really simple and produced a really lovely thick and creamy batter, plus I got 18 cupcakes out of the mix. As I wanted to make a batch of both vanilla and chocolate that means I ended up with 36 cakes!! The cakes baked well and rose really nicely. Plus, most importantly, they taste great! To be honest, I think I might have found that trustworthy go-to recipe.
The design ideas in the book are also totally awesome.
Day of the Dead Skulls (Lily Vanilli)
Monstrous Mummies (Lily Vanilli)
Shattered Glass (Lily Vanilli)
Undead Gingerbread (Lily Vanilli)
These are just a selection of my favourite designs in the book. I think the Day of the Dead skulls are my absolute favourite, but looked a little bit too much for me to take on without having a few opportunities to practice. Again, I totally loved the idea of the shattered glass but chickened out a bit because the recipe specifies using a candy thermometer, which I don’t have. It might be fine without, but I’m a bit scared :/
I went for quite a selection of designs in the end, which took quite a while with three dozen cupcakes to decorate!
Clockwise from top; Mummy cupcake, Graveyard cupcake, Ghost cupcake, Spiderweb cupcake, Bleeding cupcake, Night sky cupcake. Centre; Frankenstein-esque cupcake
Graveyard Cupcake
This one is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate fudge frosting and gingerbread gravestones. My piping skills really aren’t great, and writing on tiny grave stones was really tricky! The one on the left is meant to be a cross, but looks more like a lightning bolt in this picture!!
Mummy Cupcake
This is one of the best ones I did, in my opinion. It’s a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting and fondant icing bandages. The eyes are made of rice paper and were also a gift. The bandages took quite a long time, rolling out the fondant and then cutting the strips and placing them, but it was totally worth it. My ones are a bit different to the ones in the book, I adapted them based on things I’d seen online.
Frankenstein-esque Cupcake
Green Cake
These ones didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. The cake is vanilla, but coloured green, then covered in green vanilla frosting, with black nonpareils for hair and black writing icing for the face. The ‘bolts’ are made from Oreo Funstix.
Bleeding Cupcake
Another vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, with a slice through the middle filled with cherry jam. If I get enough courage to make shattered glass, then it will go in these.
Pumpkin Cupcake (not in main picture)
Chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a fondant icing pumpkin. I’ve not really worked with fondant before, let alone colouring it! I was very worried I was going to end up with orange palms, but I went for it and fortunately my skin didn’t get stained.
Day of the Dead Skull Cupcake (not in main picture)
Chocolate cupcake with grey vanilla frosting and a fondant icing sugar skull. In truth, I was hoping to turn the frosting black with black food colouring, but grey was the best I could achieve. I’m really pleased with the fondant skull, if I hadn’t been so tired from all the rest of the decorating I would have made more. I definitely want to work more with fondant.
Now I just need volunteers to help me get through 36 Halloween cupcakes!!
I also made some larger gingerbread gravestones just as biscuits, some gingerbread ghosts and some gingerbread men that I want to decorate up as gingerbread zombies. As with the fondant skulls, I just didn’t have enough energy left to decorate those today. Oh well, I might just have to decorate biscuits tomorrow!
Woop, more Halloween-ness for me.
Love,
Betty
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Lemon Curd and Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

I got to make cupcakes yesterday as we were having some people over for a little party to celebrate the fact that my boy is back in the country. As much as I love baking, I’m still trying to limit myself to only making things when I know there will be a lot of other people to eat them before I do :/ To capitalise on the opportunity I decided to make two different types of cupcake, a lemon curd cupcake and a chocolate caramel cupcake.
The recipes might seem a little odd, I decided not to go for the full vegan recipes this time, but still had to substitute some ingredients for vegan alternatives as my boyfriend doesn’t eat dairy.

Lemon Curd Cupcake:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of vegan margarine
1/2 cup soy milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons lemon curd

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and margarine with an electric whisk or in a food mixer.
Add half the milk and the lemon curd and mix until just blended.
Whisk the egg into the remaining milk, then gradually add to the bowl, mixing until smooth.
Put the mix into cases and bake for 20 -25 minutes at 170 degrees.

Once the cakes were baked and cooled I spread a small amount of lemon curd over the top, then frosted. I cheated on the frosting and used a tub of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting and coloured it yellow (I probably only used about half the tub).

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes:
3/4 and 2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1/2 cup soy milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and margarine with an electric whisk or food mixer.
Whisk the egg and vanilla into the milk, add half into the mixture and mix until blended.
Add the remaining milk mixture and mix until smooth.
Put into cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 170 degrees.

Once the cakes were baked and cooled, I cut holes in the top of each and filled with a teaspoon of caramel (some were filled with vegan butterscotch sauce for Pete) the replaced the cut holes and frosted with Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting.

I still ate more of the cakes than I should have, and have a small selection left, but it’s still better than eating 24 cupcakes on my own.
The chocolate caramel cupcakes were amazing. The lemon curd ones were also nice, but not to quite the same level. They may have been a little too sweet, might have been better with lemon juice and zest in the cake mix rather than lemon curd, but still putting the lemon curd on top.

The cocktail umbrellas were really just for fun. I bought a box of about 150, months ago and need to think of uses for them!

Hope you’ve all had a good weekend.
Betty
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